“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I really wasn’t going to talk about this latest shooting. I wasn’t. Coming as close on the heels as it did to the last one. Things have been depressing enough. Also, when I was waiting for one of my most recent job interviews, one of the major networks had their morning show on, and they kept reporting there had been a shooting at a “sick” temple. A sick temple! Not a Sikh temple. I mean, yeah, sure, it’s not a word maybe you say every DAY, but I’d think you might want to research how to pronounce it before you go on national television and rub salt in their wounds by pronouncing the name of their religion wrong over. And over. AND OVER. Seriously, it wasn’t just once. It was repeatedly. And it was MORTIFYING. (If I don’t get that job, I’m blaming the CBS morning show for throwing me off my game by mispronouncing an important word seconds before I had to go into an interview. Do you hear me? I WILL SUE YOU, CBS.)
(Update: per one of my commenters, apparently, it is SUPPOSED to be “sick,” and it’s my public school education and every OTHER network that had it wrong. My most abject apologies. And, well, you go, CBS News, for being the only network who was saying it correctly.)
Anyway, no. I wasn’t going to go into it. I really wasn’t. Because we’ve all had enough pain and misery and heartbreak. I don’t know what’s in the air or what’s been going on. Is it Mercury retrograde? Because that’s July 14 to August 8, and even though I don’t REALLY believe in that stuff…that’s just about when things started to go to shit in Amy-ville. If that’s the case, are things going to start looking up on Thursday? (Oh, for those of you who have no idea what this means – Mercury retrograde is an astrological term for when all the bad shit goes down. People start acting all haywirey; your brain feels all fritzy; the tiniest things make you INFURIATED…basically, it’s crazy-town in star-ville. If you believe in such things. Which I both do, and I don’t. I’m one of those people who’s eminently practical, except for when I’m not at all. I’m an enigma, what can I say.) Is it just a bad time overall for all my friends and loved ones and acquaintances and strangers and such? What the hell is happening? Maybe an alien released some sort of cloud of evil in the air, I have no idea. I just know most people I know are having a tough go of it right now, which is weird.
Anyway, then today I read this article. Sikh temple shooter hoped to inspire a wave of hate crimes. Apparently, the shooter was a white supremacist who played in a bunch of white power bands (that’s…a thing? I could happily have lived the rest of my days without knowing that “hatecore” was a thing) and he’s been online for years, encouraging other white supremacists to get out from behind their computers and go out into the real world and practice what they preached. And what do they preach? Again, something I’d be happy living the rest of my life not knowing: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” These are apparently called “the 14 words” and are the core belief system of a hate group called The Order.
I know I live with my head in the sand like an ostrich most of the time, because it’s a happier, quieter, and less-hatey place to be. Sometimes I pop out of my safe sand-hole and see things like this, or movies like American History X, and back to my hidey-hole I go.
This man not only killed 6 people (and wounded three others), but he apparently did it in the hope it was inspiring. That it would charge others to go forth and do the same thing. A lot of people were saying that he targeted the Sikhs because they look like Muslims, with their turbans, but now it’s looking like it was less of a religious thing and more of a color of their skin thing.
And I absolutely don’t get this. Not at all.
I guess, if forced to do so, I can, on some level, understand why some people, across the board, hate people of other religions. Because those people DARE imply, by believing in their God and individual belief system, that the religion of the person who is doing the hating is wrong. Also, it’s ingrained in us to dislike and mistrust what is different from us. Different = scary! And scary = bad! So, although I don’t agree with it, I can see where that’s coming from. Then add to that the fact that people assume ALL Muslims (and I guess, although I didn’t realize people didn’t know there was a difference, Sikhs) are responsible for ALL terrorism, and there’s that hatred, too. Again, don’t agree with it, but I see where the genesis is.
But I have never, and will never, get the “hating someone because they are a different skin color” thing. (Am I going to get a whole bunch of scary comments because of this? Don’t bother. I moderate and I’ll delete them. I’m not perpetrating your hate speech here.)
Apparently, they’re scared they’re stealing our jobs, and our women, and I don’t know, polluting our gene pool, or something? Well, shit, the gene pool over here before we got here was all Native American, what the hell did we do when we first showed up? We stole ALL the jobs (well, we created them, and the need for them, too, I suppose) and the women that we didn’t bring with us and we made a whole NEW gene pool. This wasn’t even a white country to START with! What the hell? It’s not like we’re preserving something that always was. What am I missing?
And since when are they “our” jobs and “our” women and, well, hell, “our” country? Who died and left it to us just because we’re pigmentally challenged? I think the jobs should be going to the most-qualified and the women (not being property) should be choosing who they want to sleep with, or not sleep with (me, I’d sleep with, oh, I don’t know, THE PERSON IN THE EQUATION WHO ISN’T A TOWERING RACIST DOUCHECANOE) and as for the country…well, it’s here, you know? No one OWNS it. It’s not a barrette or a pair of flip-flops or a can of creamed corn. It’s a COUNTRY. We can SHARE it. We’re a friggin’ melting pot, we didn’t get that name because we were all the same damn COLOR and SHAPE and SIZE. What’s wrong with you people?
Also, and this is what bugs me the most, I think – it’s not like you’re born brown or black or white or yellow or pink and you’re immediately A DIFFERENT PERSON. We’re all the same under our skin. We all have the same things that drive us, even if we look different from the outside. We all want to be loved; we all want acceptance; we all love to laugh; we all want enough money to be comfortable; we all want happiness in our lives; we all fear pain and loss; we all have quirks and peccadilloes. We’re all people, dammit. I’ve said this before. I’ll say it again. We all have the same genetics. We just come in different packages. You can take the same exact product and put it in five different boxes and guess what? IT’S THE SAME PRODUCT. Why are you being fooled by packaging? You must be a shitload of fun to take grocery shopping. None of us are better than anyone else. None of us is superior, based on something as random as what color our skin is, based on genetics. I’ve actually read that in the future (the far-off future, I don’t even remember how far off, but, far) this won’t even be an issue, because we’ll ALL be Star-Bellied Sneetches. We’ll all have cross-bred so much that we’ll all be a beautiful light-brown color, and no one will be able to claim “I AM BETTER THAN YOU KAPOW GENETICS!” because we’ll all be the SAME.
Anyway, back to topic. This guy wanted to generate a campaign of hate. He wanted people to look up to him and say, huh. Look at what THAT guy did. I could do that, too! What an inspiration! But here’s what I propose. A counter-measure.
Let’s fight that with a campaign of love.
Our campaign is easier to carry out. You don’t need to stockpile an arsenal. You don’t need to hide guns under your jacket, or buy bullet-proof clothing. You don’t end up dead at the end of our campaign, shot to death by the police protecting the citizenry.
In our campaign, our artillery is something you use every day: words. Words and deeds. Even better: they’re free, and there’s no waiting period or background check.
Be kind to people. Tell people you love them. Support someone who needs it. Instead of leaving a passive-aggressive comment on a blog or a Facebook post: choose to take the high road and don’t leave anything at all. Write a blog post encouraging love. Remember that everyone you meet is struggling with something, and even if it’s not the SAME something you’re struggling with, it’s equally as difficult for them as your things are for you. Don’t make their burden heavier than it already is. If you can? Take some of it on yourself. Everything is easier to carry if you share the load.
If you have money to donate, donate it to a charity that supports something you believe in that will further the cause: a kickstarter for a struggling artist. A fund to keep arts in the schools. A homeless shelter. A food bank. Teach your children that tolerance and love are the answers to things, not hatred and impatience. Use words that build up, not words that tear down. Smile more. Frown less. Laugh often. Be kind to yourself, because if you’re happy, it’s easier to let your love out for everyone else to enjoy it. Let everything you do, no matter how small, come from a place of love.
But Amy! Some people are very hard to love! Yep. See the quote at the beginning of the piece. I know they are. Sadly, those are the people that need us to beam the love onto them the most. I know, it’s tough.
But Amy! This sounds like crazy hippie-dippie kumbaya shit! Yep. I know. Can you think of a better fix? Because I can’t. They’re going to try to pump gallons of hatred all over the world. Can you think of a better way to combat that? I’m listening.
And if we all use our collective power to put all the love we’ve got into the world – well, maybe it doesn’t fix everything that’s wrong. I’m not that naive. But that much love out there, that much positive energy out there, you can’t tell me that’s a bad thing. We’ve already made a difference. And it’s a ripple effect, all that love. It dominoes. It goes from you, to the person you touched, to the person they touch, on and on and on. It doesn’t stop. I don’t remember a lot about physics, but I do remember the Law of Conservation of Energy. Energy might be able to change form, but it can’t be created or destroyed. We put that energy out there, all that love-energy, and it STAYS out there. It’s not GOING anywhere. And maybe along the way, it transforms some of the hate out there into love, who knows.
Don’t let the hate win. Don’t let the badness take over. We’re better than that. They might have their 14 words, but I propose we do, too:
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
Love you guys.